Court-Community Reform Through WINGS

WINGS stands for “Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders.”  Creation and sustainability of such state groups to advance adult guardianship reform was a key recommendation of the 2011 Third National Guardianship Summit sponsored by the National Guardianship Network. 

WINGS are court-community partnerships that will drive changes affecting the ways courts and guardians practice, and improve the lives of people who need help in decision-making. What distinguishes WINGS from previous state task forces on guardianship is:

(1) WINGS is broad-based and multi-disciplinary, including judges and court staff, the aging and disability networks, the public and private bar, mental health agencies, advocacy groups, medical and mental health professionals, service providers, family members and individuals affected by guardianship, and more. 

(2) WINGS is an ongoing, consensus-driven, problem-solving mechanism.  It offers a permanent forum for considering how adult guardianship is working in the state, where the pressure points are, and what solutions might work. 

See Nack, J., Dessin, C. & Swift, T., “Creating and Sustaining Interdisciplinary Guardianship Committees,” 2012 Utah Law Review No. 3, .

See Wood, E., “WINGS: Court-Community Partnerships to Improve Adult Guardianship,” National Center for State Courts, Trends in State Courts 2014, pp.85-88.

See also Kania & Kramer, “Collective Impact,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011, which postulates that “large-scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”

In 2013, with funding from the State Justice Institute (SJI), NGN selected four states to receive technical assistance and support in creating and sustaining a WINGS group (NY, OR, TX, and UT). In 2015, with SJI and supplemental funding, NGN named six additional WINGS states (DC, IN, MN, MS, WA, and WI). In its FY 2016 grants, the State Justice Institute provided support to the Guam Judiciary for a WINGS group. Additionally, four other states also have created such consensus and problem-solving groups in place. The experience of these initial states can help other states create similar networks. Find out where your state stands!

NGN has developed an online WINGS replication guide, entitled Wings Tips: State Replication Guide for Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders. View a video introduction to the WINGS replication guide below.

In July 2015, the National Center for State Courts (Richard Van Duizend and Brenda Uekert) completed an Assessment of the Impact and Efficacy of Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS).

The Social Security Administration has designated a representative for each of the ongoing state WINGS groups, to enhance coordination between state courts with guardianship jurisdiction and the SSA representative payee program.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has designated VA points of contact for each of the state WINGS groups to enhance coordination between state courts with guardianship jurisdiction and the VA fiduciary program.